Wednesday, May 3, 2006

Untenable Histories, or Gulag for the Other

One reason why Fascism has a chance is that in the name of progress its opponents treat it as a historical norm. The current amazement that the things we are experiencing are ‘still’ possible in the twentieth century is not philosophical. This amazement is not the beginning of knowledge—unless it is the knowledge that the view of history which gives rise to it is untenable. (Walter Benjamin, Theses on the Philosophy of History (VIII), spring 1940)
One view of history: Solzhenitsyn, after released from his 20-year “exile” in Vermont in 1994, returns to Russia to critique America’s intervention in “historically” Russian issues (i.e., Belarus, Ukraine, and Georgia), praising Russian nationalism and calling for conservative Christian (Orthodox) solidarity. [Source: IHT]

Another view of history: two nights of protest outside a popular gay nightclub in Moscow result in 39 arrests after said protestors pelt people leaving the club with eggs and fruit. “Demonstrators on both nights of the May Day holiday weekend were an unlikely mix of young men from a Russian nationalist group and elderly Orthodox [so-called] Christians.” Furthermore, “Moscow’s first Gay Pride parade is scheduled for May 27, but Mayor Yuri Luzhkov, backed by city officials and religious leaders, has said he will not grant a permit for the event.” [Source: PlanetOut]

I’m absolutely certain there is no connection. Whatsoever. At all. At least historically speaking.

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